Hyundai Santa Fe review
Winning Auto Express' Best Large SUV of 2013 award, the Hyundai Santa Fe offers tonnes of space and the option of seven seats
The latest Hyundai Santa Fe provides stiff competition for the likes of the Honda CR-V and Land Rover Freelander. Over the years the Santa Fe SUV has climbed upmarket and it now offers a plush, high-quality interior and tonnes of space too.
The Hyundai Santa Fe engine range comprises a 2.2-litre CRDi diesel, and that's it. Every model apart from the entry-level car comes with four-wheel drive as standard, while manual and automatic gearboxes are available across the range. It couldn't really be simpler.
The Santa Fe offers excellent towing capacity and those after that extra bit of practicality can opt for a seven-seater version - but the extra row of seats is quite cramped and accessibility isn't that great.
Despite pricing that's on comparable levels, the Hyundai Santa Fe still can't compete with premium contenders such as the Audi Q5 or BMX X3 on cabin quality. Having said that, the Hyundai Santa Fe offers a more roomy interior, an excellent five-year warranty and a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. It's a solid choice for an all-round large family car - that's why the Hyundai Santa Fe won Auto Express' Best Large SUV of 2013.
Our choice: Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Premium 7 Seat
The Hyundai Santa Fe is characterised by a large trapezoidal chrome grille and aggressive angular headlights. Its sleek exterior styling sets it apart from rivals, while large dimensions give the Hyundai Santa Fe a significant road presence.
It might not look as appealing as premium challengers such as the Audi Q5 or BMW X3, but it's a better choice than its sister model the Kia Sorento and provides stiff competition for the likes of Honda's CR-V as far as styling goes.
There are three trim levels on offer with the Hyundai Santa Fe: Style, Premium and Premium SE. All versions get 18-inch alloy wheels except Premium SE cars, which get 19-inch alloys. Nice interior touches such as a leather steering wheel and gear knob can be found across all trim levels as well.
There's only one engine available with the Hyundai Santa Fe and that's a 194bhp 2.2-litre diesel. This engine actually makes the Hyundai Santa Fe surprisingly quick for a large vehicle, and if you've got the manual gearbox fitted you'll easily cover 0-60mph in 9.8 seconds.
Body roll isn't that great on twisty roads, however, so those after an SUV that's fun to drive might consider the Mazda CX-5 - the Hyundai Santa Fe is more of a family car than an off-roader.
You can choose between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models with a further choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or an automatic (which is less economical and hampers performance slightly).
In Auto Express' 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, Hyundai dropped seven places to 14th - which isn't great. Owners were mainly disappointed with the sub-standard drive, disappointing performance and average handling.
However, a five-year unlimited mileage warranty should provide you with some peace of mind. Meanwhile, the high quality interior has been well constructed and all the components have been tried and tested in the previous Hyundai Santa Fe.
The Hyundai Santa Fe was awarded the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests. It was actually named the safest large SUV in its class, with an impressive 96 per cent score for adult protection. It comes with seven airbags, a strengthened body shell and electronic stability control (ESP).
Thanks to the large dimensions of the Hyundai Santa Fe you'll get 969 litres of boot space with the seats in place or 2,247 litres with them lowered. You can get a seven-seat Hyundai Santa Fe too, but the third row of seats is difficult to access.
The 60:40 split-fold middle seats slide back and forth for easier access and they can be folded down by the pull of a handle. Leg and headroom is impressive in the Hyundai Santa Fe, while large storage cubbies in the doors and centre console offer ample storage.
The Hyundai Santa Fe makes a great choice for towing a caravan or trailer too; it can pull 750kg unbraked or 2,500kg braked. You can even get a special Trailer Stability Assist system which improves towing safety by limiting torque and braking individual wheels when necessary.
The 2.2-litre diesel on offer with the Hyundai Santa Fe manages 47.9mpg and emits 155g/km of CO2 when paired with the manual gearbox - that isn't bad for a large SUV with a powerful engine.
The automatic still manages to return 41.5mpg, which is decent, but emissions increase to 178g/km translating into a large increase in road tax.
Thanks to its upmarket interior, attractive styling and seven-seat layout, Santa Fe residual values should be quite strong. As with all Hyundais, the Santa Fe includes a fully transferrable, five-year unlimited-mileage warranty and it's probably one of the most affordable cars in its class to run on a daily basis.